The November Feedback
Before anyone becomes confused, I should point out
that some of our regular contributors have changed their callsigns
recently. I notice this in looking at last month's issue in which
Pud/W3DQI had written quite a bit. Pud is now W3YD, (and he still
has a lot of ink this month). Roger/N3MIJ is now W3LM. Update
your membership list if nothing else.
Speaking of contributors; I would like to take this
opportunity to thank all those who have helped with the Feedback
over the past year. At the risk of leaving someone off, here's
the writers for 1996: Joe/NA3T, Bill/KI7AO, Kevin/W3DAD, Pud/W3DQI/W3YD,
Jim/WI3N, Patty/N3OYN, Roger/N3MIJ/W3LM, Paul/N3NYM, Joe/KU3Z,
Bob/WB3KXJ. Thanks to Tim/N3TZH for filling in the minutes on
short notice. John/WB3GXW has always worked on the publishing
end of it, as has Patty. And on that note, I owe a special thank
you to Pud and all the crew at the VEC sessions for putting it
all together while I was in the hospital, or recovering from same.
This month, Kevin/W3DAD has provided his article
on disk, so look for it embedded in with the rest. Pud/W3YD has
provided all sorts of interesting tidbits including the Sweepstakes
scores and a nifty item about Pat and Adaire, (the former KE3NZ,
aka "Mr. alternator whine"). Also Jim/WI3N has written
his last article as president, (as he puts it).
Bill/KI7AO has sent a Northwest Notes column after
a bit of a dry spell. As you probably know, Bill is active in
search and rescue, and has sent some more information about their
local organizations in Washington. (This will probably become
part of the next Feedback).
On the sad side of life, Barney/W4MTE has become
a Silent Key. I remember him most for some very interesting presentations
he gave at club meetings, and his stories from the past as a shipboard
- 27 Nov: On the air net in lieu of monthly meeting; (as is traditional).
- 4 Dec: Bill sked w/KI7AO on 14.217 Mhz at 17:30L
- 7 Dec: ARES training class in Virginia; pre-reg with N3RPQ @ (202)291-2189
- 7 Dec: Main Street Christmas tree lighting; around 3:30 or 4:00p
- 8 Dec: Holiday Banquet at Timbuktu Restaurant
- 14 Dec: Laurel Christmas tree lighting (probably)
- 28 Dec: D.C. Roadrunners Marathon
Does anyone know the oldest college or university
in Maryland? This came up at the last social meeting, and I thought
it was interesting. Roger/W3LM said that Washington College in
Chestertown is the only school that George Washington gave his
name to. Of course, I mentioned George Washington University,
but not so. Anyway, my dictionary lists the following schools:
St. John's College in Annapolis - 1696; Washington College - 1706;
The University of Maryland in College Park - 1807; Johns Hopkins
- 1876. The oldest U.S. school I could find was Harvard University
- 1636. Well, does anybody know any others?
President's ramblings . . .
I hope that lots of you are coming to the Holiday
Banquet. I'm sure that you will really enjoy the program. The
entertainment will be Dr Richard Wunderlich, aka Dr Wonder. He
is a magician who will be doing a mentalist show. I've gone a
bit over budget on this one, so if you like the show and want
to drop in a couple extra bucks, Pud'll be glad to take it. Don't
forget that you can send in your dues ($15 and $7.50 ea add'l
family member) along with the banquet check. In my humble opinion,
I think the Timbuktu serves some of the best crab cakes this side
of Chrisfield. We will also have some very nice door prizes,
too. I promise we won't be droning on about antennas or some
obscure, arcane aspect of amateur radio. This will be a fun nite
for spouses and friends who aren't hams.
This is my last article as president. You don't
know how much I've really enjoyed serving the past five years.
Special thanks go to those members who have served as your officers
and made the club what it is. Mary Ellen/W3VY (who upgraded to
Extra and was the first to receive her father's call under the
new vanity call sign gates) was secretary the first couple years;
Howard/K3IOG who was the repository of the corporate history as
vice president; Pud/W3YD who stuck it out as treasurer for the
long haul; Roger/W3LM, who succeeded Mary Ellen as secretary;
Mike/WB3HUP who took over as vice president; and Joe/KA3UZI who
has continued to serve us with distinction as Board Member at
Large and faithful representative to F.A.R. Bob Busch/WB3KXJ
thankfully (with help from Michele/WK3X) continues to oversee
our VEC program, and special thanks to John/N3GXA who has never
missed a deadline with the Feedback. Other special thanks to
John/WB3GXW, who, along with his head VE duties continues to publish
the Feedback for us. Without the involvement of these folks the
club would not be the active, forward moving organization it is.
We've tried to have some interesting meetings over
the years. Thanks to the club members who've stepped forward
to give talks to the membership. Kevin/W3DAD on packet, George/W3PPB
on microwave, Pud/W3YD on message handling, John/N3GXA on maps,
and I'm sure I'm leaving someone out.
You, the membership, deserve thanks for helping
to guarantee a free and decent meeting place by donating your
time and talent in siding the Woman's Club. It was a long process
and you faithfully kept working until it was completed. You also
can pat yourselves on the back for your continued full participation
in the club's public service activities. Now that we are becoming
involved in the emergency plan of the City of Laurel (both snow
and disaster plans and will be plugging into the Laurel Hospital's
plan soon) I'm confident that many of you will respond to both
training and the actual emergencies. Speaking of community service,
we will be helping the City with it's annual Christmas Tree Lighting
Ceremony and parade again this year. It will be held on Saturday,
Dec 7 (the day before our banquet) and those who will be participating
should meet at 3:30 pm in the police parking lot (between B and
C Sts) for marching orders, pun intended. I think you should
be able to park in the city lot.
Mark/N3NTQ, our president-elect, mentioned on our
Wednesday nite net that there will be an ARES training session
in VA on Dec 7. It will run from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm and areas
such as Skywarn, traffic handling, and so forth. If you want
to attend, you need to send $5.00 payable to Lenny Schacter/N3RPQ,
1811 Quincy St, NW, Washington, DC 20011-5335. Call him to get
a reservation at 202-291-2189. This will be worth the trip for
those of us who are gearing up to work with ARES/RACES. Let Mark
know if you are going and we can work out a carpool arrangement.
Finally, for the new year, I hope that you will
try something new in this great hobby of ours. I finally got
up a 136' on a side dipole up about 60 ft. It was interesting
to say the least stringing that bear up. It's only 28' short
of the length of a football field. This does, however, allow
me to work 160M, a band I've never worked before. I haven't been
very successful working Bill/KI7AO lately either with my 20M loop
in the attic (which turns on all my touch lamps when I key it)
nor my new dipole which I thought would be a killer. Looks like
I'm going to have to put up another antenna for 20M. Maybe I'll
make it out of copper pipe in a 1:2 rectangle with it center fed
on the vertical side. We'll see. The point is to try something
different once in a while. Work a new band, build a new antenna,
go digital, work a satellite, visit a foreign country. Wear a
big smile so that everyone will wonder what you are up to. Seriously,
I hope that next year you will push yourself up to or past some
limit you imagine you will never exceed. The mental exhilaration
of pushing the envelope keeps life worth living. Besides, if
you live to tell about it, think how much more interesting the
conversations will be on 2M.
One last thought. In response to Kay Craige's query
for comments regarding whether ham radio is going soft, vis a
vis the lack of new people becoming involved with it, I would
offer these observations. Pud has a theory that people will become
involved if they see people doing it and having fun or contributing
something worthwhile to society. We need much better PR. I wholeheartedly
agree with that. Somewhere I heard that the ARRL discovered that
the average person becomes involved with the hobby about 2 years
after they hear about it. I am still a proponent of programs
in the school (that's how I got my license in 1963) and talking
to groups. I think that coupled with good PR will go a long way
to educating folks about us. I'm sure that the internet and sunspots
have a good deal to do with the current slump. I'd be interested
in hearing at the next meeting what influenced you to become a
Some Alternative Ideas
It would be nice if we all had a couple of acres of clear land
and the resources to erect an antenna system like those that are
featured on the front covers of Amateur Radio magazines. Most
of us, however, have to make do with an antenna that is a compromise
in one or maybe several ways. But even compromise antenna systems
can be very effective. This article will discuss some antennas
for various restrictive situations.
Living in a neighborhood that permits outside antennas is a decided
advantage over the ham who lives in one which does not. Even
if your means are very limited, a simple horizontal wire or vertical
will get you on-the-air very effectively. For VHF, a simple 5/8
wavelength vertical on the house peak or chimney is very effective
over the FM band. Small verticals will not only serve for voice
and packet, but will also work with the low orbiting satellites.
For SSB/CW work, a small yagi will provide lots of contacts,
especially during the contests. The 2 Meter band is very active
up and down the East coast. VUCC could be worked with some effort
using only a medium power and a five to ten element yagi. These
yagi antennas are no larger than TV antennas and can be turned
with a small rotor. Heights of 25 to 40 feet will work fine,
especially in the Fall and Winter when trees are bare of leaves.
For HF the multiband HF vertical is hard to beat. Some say that
radials are a problem, but 30 radials, 15 to 60 feet long, will
provide a fine ground plane for the antenna. Radials can be slit
into the grass carpet and are not a problem during mowing. Since
most verticals are electrically short on 80 and 160 Meters, a
simple wire dipole will likely work best for those bands. A pair
of wires in the form a vee from roof top to back yard fence and
fed with balanced line via an antenna tuner will garner lots of
low band contacts.
Hams in neighborhoods that prohibit outside antennas have to be
a bit more innovative. For VHF packet and FM, mobile antennas
mounted on a deck or a vertical wire behind a railing post will
be effective although some blocking may occur in the direction
of the structure. Attic antennas are also effective and even
a small yagi may be mounted in an attic. For HF, a wire vertical
may be hidden in a tree, however, the feedline may become a problem.
Mobile HF antennas may be mounted (clamped) on deck railings.
A counterpoise (artificial ground) may be needed in these cases.
A horizontal wire loop can be strung under the eves of a house.
For low power this can be small diameter wire, say # 20. This
antenna is feed via balanced line and an antenna tuner. Since
these antennas are in close proximity to the occupants, only low
(100 Watts or less) power should be used. Attic mounted 10 and
2 Meter antennas will permit QSOs via the RS satellites and attic
mounted dipoles for the upper HF bands will garner lots of contacts,
For those in apartments the antenna will likely have to be indoors,
although, some Amateurs have made arrangements to put HF antennas
on apartment building roofs. Most apartments have a balcony that
may permit the installation of a small VHF or UHF antenna. HF
mobile antennas may also work if mounted on an aluminum plate
and C-clamped to the railing. Inside, a J-pole constructed from
300 ohm twin lead can be taped to glass doors. If the apartment
has two levels, put the antennas on the upper level. HF dipole
antennas for 10, 12, 15 and 17 are all possible. Remember to
run low power only. If operation is from the same room as the
antenna, then limit power to 25 watts or less. If the apartment
is in the between other floors of a multi-story building, then
antennas should only be run along outside walls and power limited
to 25 watts or less.
Another alternative is going mobile/portable. There is plenty
of mobile activity on the HF bands which has, in turn, generated
a market for items useful for the mobile Radio Amateur. Antennas,
mounting brackets, automatic tuners, etc., are all in good supply
and make taking a 100 Watt rig on the road rather easy. Operating
the mobile station as a portable from a park, pull-off or shopping
center permits the use of CW or other digital modes that require
a computer. The difficulty in installing a mobile antenna system
will likely be in getting a good ground and counterpoise for the
antenna. The antenna will also exhibit a high Q, therefore the
SWR bandwidth will be narrow. An antenna tuner or matching network
will be required and will likely have to be adjusted for small
changes in operating frequency.
The point of all this is not to give up just because you find
yourself in a situation where an outside antenna is not permitted.
As the saying goes. "where there is a will, there is a way".
Don't be afraid to experiment with what appears to be a very
inefficient antenna You may be pleasantly surprised.
Happy holidays to all! 73, Kevin/W3DAD e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
LARC and the INTERNET
The following is an updated list of LARCers, and their e-mail
address. In those cases where the member has both a home and
work URL, only the home is listed. If anyone spots a typo, let
me know....also, anyone else want to get listed? If so, send
me a message at my e-mail address, and I'll update the list next
KI7AO BILL BOWDEN KI7AO@JUNO.COM
N3AUQ RUSS STUDER N3AUQ@JUNO.COM
N3CLL JIM LEHNERT JLEHNERT@EROLS.COM
WV3D KEVIN CRAVEN KEVINC@EROLS.COM
W3DAD KEVIN ARBER AA0005@MAIL.PRATT.LIB.MD.US
WA3FYZ AL BROWN AL_BROWN@IX.NETCOM.COM
W3GFS JOHN ALBERTINE PENNYALB@AOL.COM
N3GNI JULIA BERTAK BEARTAK@AOL.COM
WB3GXW JOHN CREEL CREEWB3GXW@AOL.COM
WB3HUP MIKE MOSELEY WB3HUP@AOL.COM
K3IOG HOWARD LEHNERT HLEHNERT@SPRINTMAIL.COM
WB3KXJ BOB BUSCH RBUSCH@EROLS.COM
N3LDY IRV MCWHERTER IRVN3LDY@POSTOFFICE.WORLDNET.ATT.NET
N3LFL H D SCOTT XRLA31A@PRODIGY.COM
W3LM ROGER DAVIS RLDAVIS2@JUNO.COM
K3MEG PHIL MCSHANE PMCSHANE@EROLS.COM
WI3N JIM CROSS JCROSS3@JUNO.COM
N3NTQ MARK DOORE MARK.S.DOORE@BELL-ATL.COM
N3REQ MARDEE DELAHUNTY MARDEE@ACPUB.DUKE.EDU
NA3T JOE MACK MACK@NCIFCRF.GOV
N3TZH TIM MCSHANE TIMMCS@EROLS.COM
W3VY MARY ELLEN MAY EMMEMAY@EROLS.COM
WK3X MICHELE CIMBALA CIM@NETCOM.COM
W3YD PUD REAVER PREAVER@EROLS.COM
KA8YPY DAN BLASBERG DAN.BLASBERG@MCI.COM
KU3Z JOE GRZESIK JGRZESIK@EROLS.COM
If you read the list closely, you will see we have welcomed three
new members to the club this month: WA3FYZ/Al Brown, and N3LDY/Irv
and N3TQE/Sandy McWherter.
Any more e-mail addresses out there?
You will also notice two call sign changes:
Pud/W3DQI -> W3YD
Roger/N3MIJ -> W3LM
Kay Craigie/WT3P, the Atlantic Division Director, asked in her
most recent bulletin, if ham radio was getting soft? W3YD sent
the following response. Other responses are welcome.
IS HAM RADIO GETTING "SOFT"?
I think we've known, but didn't want to admit, for years that
ham radio was getting "soft". So, instead of lingering
on the negative, let's consider some positives we can do to add
some zest, interest, and activity to our hobby. I contend:
There are at least two things we should consider to reduce the
"softness" of our hobby. The first one...I've been harping
on for several years. The second one...is a new consideration
for me, but not for a lot of concerned amateurs.
1. Increase the PR effort
2. Relax the Morse Code requirement
For all intents and purposes, ham radio does not have a PR department.
I don't recall reading anything in the Washington Post, or the
Laurel Leader, about the FAR-Fest, and how there would be programs
for all ages about amateur radio, demonstrations of the various
aspects of our hobby, a test session for those wishing to join
our ranks, and loads and loads of amateur radio equipment, both
new and used, for sale. (I did read a few advertisements in amateur
radio literature about the bingo games to placate the ladies while
their hubbies were buying or selling stuff.)
I contend that the way to increase interest in our hobby is to
do interesting things, and make people ask how they can participate.
I further contend that the way NOT to do this is to go to schools,
Lions clubs, church socials, and "brag"....captive audiences
really don't give a damn! The way to increase interest is just
TO DO things, openly, in public, patting ourselves on the back
(sort of), and, by having so much fun, people will come to us!
I contend this works! In the Laurel, MD area the Laurel ARC has been active since about 1979. We are now sought out to help with local communications events, and, after several tries, we have convinced the Mayor and local emergency preparedness officials that we are willing and able to AUGMENT (the key word) their communications during times of duress. I admit we haven't doubled our ranks, but people know who we are, what we can do, and where to find us!
Most of the (voiced or un-voiced) reasons to keep Morse around are included in the following categories:
Morse will get through when all other modes won't. When was the last time this old saw was proven operationally, either in an emergency or not.
I had to learn it, so do you. But we don't have to draw schematics on licensing tests anymore.
It's a filter. Do you want (your favorite band) to start sounding like eleven meters?
Have you listened to (your favorite band) recently? (By the way,
most of those converted CBers are turning into really good hams!
It's all in your ATTITUDE.)
Morse is a fun part of the hobby, but is slowly losing support
from almost all facets of the communications arena. Everyone
points to the fact that the Coast Guard dropped it last year;
the US DoD dropped it from the MARS program in October 96; several
nation members of the IARU are lobbying to have it dropped from
the International HF requirements; the list goes on and on...
Morse Code is a international requirement to operate on the HF
bands, and until that International Rule goes away, we must keep
the Morse Code requirement in the United States. However, we
can relax it a little and keep everybody happy...I propose the
Novice requirement (5 wpm) be retained through the Advanced Class
license, and that 15 wpm be the requirement for Amateur Extra.
Then, those who discover the code can enjoy it, and will probably
go beyond the 15 wpm, and those who eschew it for one reason or
another can enjoy the other aspects of our hobby. (As an aside,
we all know folks who gave up on ham radio because of the CW requirement;
but after they received the Technician....all of a sudden the
Morse impediment "went away"....look how many have upgraded
to general and beyond!)
BOARD OF TRADE SAYS "THANK YOU"
Else where in the FEEDBACK you will see a letter of THANKS from the
Laurel Board of Trade, for our work with the first, annual RIVERFEST. It was
an outstanding success, they claim, and all the vendors made a few bucks and hope to be back next year. It will be bigger! and LARC will surely be
included. In fact, when they were thinking of moving it to Sept 27, I said
I thought that was the Pallotti Run (it is), and the BOT just dropped that
date from consideration.
Thanks to all who supported it this
year.....WE WILL BE BACK!
W3YD got a call from the D.C. RoadRunners to verify the 10 & 20 mile race was still a go for Dec 28, and to assure us that we were wanted, needed, and wanted and needed. They also have learned a lesson, and are telling all the runners that the course will be closed at 1600....everyone's going home. We will report on the course
around 0930 (net control around 0900). Please
mark this on your calendars....it will be a good excuse to get
some fresh air during the holiday madness!
This year was not as good as last year, score-wise, but as good
as ever, fun-wise. We used the bucket truck to support our beam
and the G5RV, and used equipment loaded by HD/N3LFL, Jim/WI3N,
Pud/W3YD, and probably others. We didn't work the clean sweep
we wanted, but a lot of operators had a lot of fun. Our score
(last year in parens) Points: 27792 (60522); QSOs 193 (392); sections
worked 72 (77); hours on the air 14 (19). Well, next year will
AM-PM PAGE: For those of you on the World
Wide Web, you may want to look at this page from Adaire and Pat
Mason (hence the name, get it?). They have been in Hawaii for
almost a year (Pat changed his call from KE3NZ to AH6Z), and are
enjoying themselves, as you will see. The URL is http://www.hula.net/~newlife/
Sadly we report that F. Barney Norris, W4MTE, became a silent
key on November 15. He was not very active in the club, but occasionally
came to a meeting, or checked into the late night net to report
on his progress re: WAS via satellite. We always had a smiling
and cheerful conversation....he will be missed on those late night
Well, it's that time of the year to plan for
the LARC banquet, and to remember what a great time we had last
year! We're going to DO IT AGAIN! This
year the banquet date is December 8; the time is 1600 (Mickey's
small hand on the FOUR); and the place is the TIMBUKTU....watch
this column for directions....they've changed the roads around
The price hasn't changed....still only $25.00,
which includes tax and tip and doggie bag, and helps pay for the
few guests, and the entertainment, which, by the way, is still
up for grabs. Any suggestions you have will be gladly accepted
On the menu we have:
1. ROAST PRIME RIB OF BEEF Don't forget to tell
2. BROILED MARYLAND CRAB CAKES me how to cook the beef!
3. STUFFED FLOUNDER Default is medium
4. CHARBROILED NEW YORK STRIP STEAK
5. VEGETARIAN PLATE
Appetizer (choice of one):
chilled tomato juice
chilled grapefruit juice
chilled orange juice
soup du jour
[included in the menu are tossed salad, two
vegetables, bread, butter, coffee, sanka or tea, and dessert].
The ABSOLUTE CUTOFF DATE is December 4. Please send your check, with meal preferences, to me
Pud Reaver, W3DQI
6516 Brooklyn Bridge Road
Laurel, MD 20707
DUES ARE ALMOST DUE, you may include
your dues for next year: they are $15.00 for the primary member,
and $7.50 for each additional family member.
!!! Check out Jim's article for
info on the entertainment!!!